Higher education system
Higher education forms the highest level of the Czech education system. Czech higher education dates back six hundred years. In 1348 Emperor Charles IV founded a university in Prague which is the oldest academic institution in the Central Europe. It is now called the Charles University.
The central governing body for education is the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports . The quality of higher education is fostered by the Accreditation Commission. Since 2001 the three cycle structure has strictly been implemented in the higher education system (i.e. Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral study programmes).
For more detailed information go to the Chapters on Higher Education of Eurypedia.
The main tuition language is Czech, however the range of programmes delivered in foreign languages (mainly in English) is expanding in particular to cater for international students. See the list of English taught study programmes offered by Czech higher education institutions.
Organisation of studies
The academic year is divided in two semesters or terms. These are generally organised as follows:
|Winter semester||Spring semester|
|Teaching period||mid-September – mid-December||mid-February – mid-May|
|Examination period||January – mid-February||mid-May – end of June|
Deciding the content of studies and the design of study programmes is one of the academic freedoms of higher education institutions in the Czech Republic. However, all study programmes are subject to accreditation which is granted by the Ministry of Education on the basis of a decision by the Accreditation Commission.
The frequency and methods of assessing students’ achievements differ according to the field of study. In some cases, a system of partial examinations taken after each semester has been introduced, in other cases one comprehensive examination after each completed part of studies is prescribed, mostly at the end of a certain module. Study outcomes at higher education institutions are assessed mainly by a system of credits or points. The credit system (European Credit Transfer System) has been encouraged since it allows completed parts of studies to be recognised, thus contributing to transferability within the system.
Higher education institutions offer accredited degree programmes at three levels: Bachelor´s, Master´s, and Doctoral, as well as lifelong learning courses. Higher education institutions can be either university or non-university types. Traditional university-type institutions may offer all types of degree programmes while non-university institutions are characterised by providing mainly Bachelor´s degree programmes. The documents confirming the completion of studies and the right to the appropriate academic title are the higher education diploma and the supplement to the diploma.
Bachelor´s degree programmes are 3 to 4 years in duration and constitute the first level of higher education. The study programme must be completed with a final state examination, which usually includes the presentation and defence of a thesis. Successful graduates may enter the labour market or continue their studies in follow-up Master’s programmes in related fields.
Master´s degree programmes may either follow on from Bachelor´s programmes as follow-up Master´s programmes (1 to 3 years), or they may be full programmes (4 to 6 years). Programmes focus on the acquisition and application of theoretical knowledge, and on the development of creativity and talent. Graduates in Master´s programmes have to take a final state examination and publicly present and defend a thesis. Studies in medicine, veterinary medicine and hygiene are completed by a demanding state examination, including the presentation and defence of a rigorous thesis.
Doctoral programmes (normally last 3 years) are intended for graduates from Master´s programmes and focus on independent creative work in research, development or the arts. Doctoral studies are completed by way of a state doctoral examination and the public presentation and defence of a doctoral thesis (dissertation) based on original work, which must have been published or admitted for publishing.
|Institution||Type of education||Lenght (years)||Ages|
|Tertiary professional school||Tertiary professional education||3 - 3,5||19 - 21/22|
|Higher education institution,
university and non-university type
Master (non-structured study)
|3 - 4
1 - 3
4 - 6
|19 - 22/23
22/23 - 23/26
19 - 23/25
|Higher education institution,
|Doctoral studies||3 - 4||-|
Some institutions provide also study programmes leading to the degree of Master of Business Administration (MBA). This study is oriented on solving real-life case studies and should enhance managerial knowledge and skills of students. For more information see the website of the Association of the Czech MBA Schools.
For more information about the education system of the Czech Republic go to the Information Materials section.